OU roundtable: Dissecting the Sooners before Saturday’s game in Lubbock
Four questions for four writers, analyzing the soul-searching Sooners as they prepare for a huge road contest against undefeated Texas Tech.
1. Has the defense been a disappointment?
Jason Kersey (beat writer): Not really, no. OU’s defense has played pretty well, save for a couple big plays and fourth-quarter struggles against Kansas State. The front seven have had their problems, but still played well enough to win for three quarters against Kansas State. The secondary hasn’t really faced a test against a big-time passing offense like Texas Tech’s though, so Saturday will really determine how good this unit can be moving forward.
Stephanie Kuzydym (beat writer): In the fourth quarter against Kansas State, yes. In any other quarter? No.
Berry Tramel (columnist): No. OU’s defense has not been a disappointment. It didn’t play well in the fourth quarter vs. KSU, but it played great the first three quarters. So the Sooner D has been overall good. Of course, it hasn’t really been tested by its Achilles heel, the pass. So we’ll see at Tech.
Anthony Slater (sports blogger): Disappointment isn’t the word. I’d go with bland. Overall, OU’s defense has been relatively effective, giving up only 14.7 points per game. But the Sooners are last in the nation in takeaways (1) and tackles for loss (12), not providing the type of game-changing plays that swing momentum. They aren’t necessarily losing you games, but they certainly aren’t winning them either.
2. Who is the OU player (or unit), besides Landry Jones, with the most to prove?
Kersey: The defensive backfield. The unit was embarrassed at home a year ago by quarterback Seth Doege and Texas Tech, and that debacle proved to be a sign of things to come. The secondary needs to prove that it can hang with tough air-raid attacks in a league full of them, and that Mike Stoops has really made a difference in his time back as defensive coordinator.
Kuzydym: The defense. Although I don’t see them as a disappointment in giving up big plays, they still are in search of some interceptions and batted balls.
Tramel: R.J. Washington. OU’s pass rush has been meager so far. Now, that’s acceptable against KSU, since the Sooners didn’t really try to rush the Wildcats. But against UTEP, OU didn’t put up a great rush. Washington is the supposed to be OU’s best pass rusher. Now’s the time to prove it.
Slater: I agree with you Berry, it’s the defensive front. They haven’t been able to get much push this season (tied for 91st with only six sacks) and that must change on Saturday. The secondary will be tested against Texas Tech’s air raid, but it doesn’t matter how well you cover them, if Seth Doege has all day to throw, someone will eventually come open.
3. Everyone’s got their player they think should get more touches. In your opinion, who’s the one Sooner who needs to get the ball more?
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